Once largely private or taboo subjects, abortion and its resulting mental health issues and the toll they take on girls and women are being acknowledged and addressed in public.
Neither pro-life nor pro-choice, The Stacy Zallie Foundation was created in 2004 to support women struggling in the aftermath of an abortion. It was formed in memory of Zallie, who fell into deep depression after having an abortion at age 20 in 2001. She briefly sought professional help, but told no one close to her about her choice. A year later, Zallie took her own life.
Her parents, George and Linda Zallie, launched the foundation to provide compassion and help for others in similar situations.
“We’re not judgmental. We don’t care if you’re pro-life, pro-choice,” said Michael Zallie, Stacy’s older brother and a former Cherry Hill resident, in an interview with the Sun on Aug. 31. “We recognize you may run into this problem, and we want you to see the signs and help in any way you can.
“We didn’t know the reason why until afterward,” Zallie recalled of his sister’s experience. “There was some support, but even back then, there was so much shock to hear what happened. In my experience and my father’s experience, once we started the foundation, we realized that there are a growing number of women dealing with this issue.
“Whether it be six months, a year, 16 years, it (abortion) affects every woman differently and it’s permanent.”
Funding for the foundation comes from the annual Stacy Zallie Foundation Golf Tournament. Presented by Zallie-Somerset Inc., this year’s event will be held on Sept. 15 at Ron Jaworski’s Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood.
Zallie said the tournament is scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. and extend through the afternoon, to 4 p.m. at the latest. Once participants hit the links, it will be a shotgun start and style of play.
The event generally draws around 150 golfers, but attendance has dropped slightly due to coronavirus-related regulations, according to George Beim, president and CEO of Pinnacle Management Group.
Participants are expected to encounter minor changes in format, like boxed breakfasts to be served to golfers outdoors. The usual indoor cocktail hour and awards dinner will not be part of this year’s event.
“We will be mailing their gifts and awards after the event is over,” Beim said.
Since its 2006 inception, the tournament has raised more than $1 million for the foundation’s programs and services. Zallie said the foundation usually nets $100,000 each year, but this year, in light of COVID-19, it aims for half that.
No matter the windfall, Zallie said the foundation is committed to disbursing donations where they’re needed.
“The money goes to resources for counseling, goes to resources for research,” he revealed. “We try to help women from all over the country, We are contacted by women all over the country, saying they’ve been helped by going to the website and getting the help that saves their lives.”
The foundation supports several entities in the Delaware Valley that cater to women’s issues: Rachel’s Vineyard in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Good Counsel in Riverside; Choices of the Heart in Turnersville; Options for Women in Cherry Hill; and Discover Ministries in Hammonton.
Local luminaries expected to attend the tournament are former Phillies Tommy Greene and Mickey Morandini; former Eagles running back Joe Pagliei; and two former Jets stars, quarterback and Cherry Hill native Glenn Foley and tight end Rocky Klever. The long list of luminaries also includes Four Aces singer Joe Giglio and The Duprees’ Tony Testa.
“It means the world to my family and I that we have so many people and local celebrities come out,” Zallie acknowledged. “Without them, their support and their dedication year in, year out, we wouldn’t be so well known.
“It gives the tournament some character and means the world to lend some support for what the foundation is trying to do.”